And the Red Sox’s new closer is … Alfredo Aceves

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Mark Melancon seemed like the obvious closer fill-in for the Red Sox following Andrew Bailey’s thumb surgery, but manager Bobby Valentine announced today that Alfredo Aceves will begin the season with ninth-inning duties.

Melancon saved 20 games for the Astros last season, whereas Aceves has just four career saves, and while Aceves is certainly capable of thriving in the role a large part of his value comes from the rubber-armed ability to soak up innings as a bullpen workhorse (and potential rotation option).

He threw 114 innings last season, making four starts and 51 relief appearances, but very few modern managers have used closers as more than one-inning guys and very few closers pitch more than 60-70 innings per season.

Aceves’ workload figures to drop as his save total rises, so it’ll be interesting to see how Valentine deals with not having the right-hander to put out fires in all kinds of situations. Valentine said that Melancon will serve as the backup closer, getting save chances on Aceves’ days off.

Bailey, who was acquired from the A’s after Jonathan Papelbon signed a $50 million deal with the Phillies, is expected to miss 3-4 months.

Andrew Miller placed on the disabled list

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UPDATE: The Indians have placed Miller on the 10-day disabled list with a strained left hamstring.

8:46 AM: Indians reliever Andrew Miller left last night’s game against the Cubs with left hamstring tightness.

Miller threw just two pitches before clutching his leg and leaving the field. He’s day-to-day for now — and manager Terry Francona noted that he had a similar injury a few years back and only missed a few days — but hamstring injuries can be anywhere from annoying to serious, so nothing definitive will be said by the club until he undergoes an MRI. Given how critical he is to the Indians, who are likely postseason bound, figure that the team will err on the side of caution with a DL sting regardless.

Miller has yet to allow a run in ten innings of work.